In many ways, it was far from a vintage year for Johnathan Thurston. The Cowboys suffered yet another gut-wrenching finals exit, he endured his first losing Origin campaign since 2005 – and perhaps his worst series ever performance-wise – and injury ruled him out of the Kangaroos’ Four Nations schedule.
But JT’s stunning individual efforts at NRL level saw him climb further up the ranks of the greatest to ever play the game, achieving new levels of consistency, commitment and brilliance.
The talismanic half claimed a record-equalling third Dally M Medal, named joint winner with Jarryd Hayne as he collected the premiership’s highest accolade for the first time since 2007.
Extending his Cowboys career pointscoring record past 1,500 points, Thurston broke Josh Hannay’s 11-year-old mark of 230 points in a season, while he finished atop the NRL pointscorer’s list – equal with James Maloney on 234 – for the first time in his career.
He scored an equal career-high 11 tries through his dynamic, underrated running game and relentless support play, while he led the competition in try assists (31), line-break assists (19) and field goals (4).
Regarded as one of the code’s pre-eminent playmakers for a decade, Thurston’s tenacity on both sides of the ball and uncanny knack of turning up at the right place at the right time make him arguably the most valuable player on the planet – he is the complete halfback package.
Matthew Johns declared Thurston had superseded his brother Andrew Johns as the greatest half in rugby league history, while Wally Lewis all-but said Thurston had moved past Allan Langer as the finest Queensland linchpin of all-time.
The team at AP7 Montages have put together this brilliant montage of JT’s 2014 highlights, showcasing his sleight of hand, brilliant kicking game, dogged defensive plays and superb individual tries.